Tuesday, December 21, 2010

5 Tips To Make Your Next Tour A Smashing Success...

Touring is one of the best ways to get your music in front of new fans. Touring is VITAL if you plan to make a living off of your music. If you haven't hit the road yet, it's time to take the leap and start booking your first tour now! (I'll talk more about how in an upcoming post) 

Each tour has its highs and its lows.

If you've already toured before, what was the success of your last tour? Each tour is a learning experience within itself, with various highs and lows along the way. Lucky for you, you don't have to make the same mistakes that I did in order to learn what works!

I'll now share with you 5 tips that will help make your next tour more lucrative:

1) Word Of Mouth Is The BEST Way To Promote Your Band.

The best promotion EVER is Word Of Mouth Promotion.

Nothing beats good word of mouth promotion. 

People might gain interest from seeing you on a flyer or hearing you on the radio, but if one of their friends tells them how much you ROCK, then they're definitely going to check you out!

Word of mouth travels fast, and when you put on an amazing performance, people are going to talk.

What can you do to get people talking about you? 

2) Close The Merch Store When You're On The Road.

Here's something cool that I've noticed a lot of successful touring bands doing: when you're on tour, close your online merchandise store.

Think about it: when you're on the road, it'll be a headache to try to ship merchandise AND if people want to buy your stuff, closing your online store will encourage them to come to your show to buy it!

Encourage people to attend your shows. If you're already going to be in their neighborhood, save shipping costs and sell merchandise to your new fan in-person. You'll get a chance to meet them, they'll get a chance to see your awesome live show, and this will further encourage them to catch your show the next time you're in town.

3) Bring Different Merchandise.

Always have cool stuff to sell. Belt Buckles, deluxe vinyl LPS, lighters, and kick-ass sweat shirts are just a few items you can add to your inventory and open up more revenue streams. 

A good practice is to sell a range of inexpensive merchandise (stickers, patches) to high-end merchandise (deluxe dvd, 4 color hoodie) so all of your fans can afford to take home something, no matter their budget.

Year after year, highly successful touring bands carry a slightly different inventory. This does two great things:

There's Always Something New For The Die-Hards.
Even if they bought every t shirt and album on the last tour, the die hard fans have something new they can purchase to add to their collection, while you have another source of income to support yourselves on the tour. It's win-win.

If They Want It, They'd Better Get It Now.
When you start to unveil new items each tour, don't be quick to re-order the items that you carried last tour. This encourages fans to act now if they want to buy that certain shirt design or certain piece of merchandise, because it might not be available next time you're in town!

4) Encourage Bootlegs.

Become a tape-friendly band. Allow your fans to record your performances with lo-fi equipment and share (not sell) it with other fans.

Allow your fans to record your performances. It will give them something to share with their friends (word of mouth!) post on the internet (more advertising/web presence!) or trade recordings with fellow fans (people coming together to talk about you!) The reward potential is endless and it will further increase your exposure.

If you're worried that someone might film and sell a hollywood-grade live dvd of your show,  you can always restrict allowed recording devices to consumer grade/lo-fi quality equipment.

If you're not sure that letting your fans record and share your performance is a good idea, I'd like to share with you another band that encouraged this technique. It helped get them hundreds of thousands of diehard fans. You may have heard of them before: The Grateful Dead.

5) Put On An Amazing Live Show.

I know. This one may sound like a no-brainer, but putting on a kick-ass show is the cornerstone of gaining more fans and having a successful tour. There will be no sold-out tours if your band sucks live.

Put on the best show possible EVERY time you perform. 

What can you do to put on an unforgettable performance that will keep your fans talking about you and coming back for more?

Conclusion And Call To Action.

We covered a lot of great tips to improve your next tour. Now its time to take action. Make sure that your next tour is more successful than your last. Take a snapshot of your last tour by answering these questions:

How much did your last tour cost? 

How much did you make? 

What were the quality of the shows you  played? (Perfomance, Attendance)

How many people did you get to play in front of? 

How long did you get to stay out? 

Now that you've answered these questions, what parts of your tour can you improve upon to make your next tour even more successful?

Is there a way you can you hold down/reduce your tour expenses?

Can you charge more to play and/or add more merchandise to sell on your next tour?

Is there a way you can play in front of more fans and/or promote your next tour better?

Is there a way to stay out longer on your next tour?

We'll cover these topics more in-depth in an upcoming post, but I want to get you thinking about this. Take action today to get the most out of your next tour!

What did you think of this article? 


  1. Hey, Keg! Your buddy, Seth, here. Didn't know you had a blog, too! Haha! (I'll plug mine later.)

    The biggest question I have about touring is how do you get people to a show that have never heard of your band before? You mention word of mouth, but that's hard to get when you've never been to a particular city before. I'm in process of developing some tactics, but I'd love to hear your feedback.

    And now for the plug. Coincidentally, I just created a blog that's just about on the same lines as yours. We should have some wine, look lovingly in each other's eyes, and crosslink.


  2. Yes all talking about point are really important at the time of getting prepared for trip.
    United-21 pench